Shane Lewis readies for Battle in Virginia JUPITER, Fla., October 1, 2003 - Following a one-race hiatus due to Hurricane Isabel, Shane Lewis will return this weekend to the Grand-Am Cup race series in the No. 20 Nuzzo Motorsports Mini Cooper S.
Shane Lewis readies for Battle in Virginia
JUPITER, Fla., October 1, 2003 - Following a one-race hiatus due to Hurricane Isabel, Shane Lewis will return this weekend to the Grand-Am Cup race series in the No. 20 Nuzzo Motorsports Mini Cooper S. The Jupiter, Florida resident will lead the Nuzzo team into Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with plans to take the car's first professional race win in North America. The historic, flowing track outside the city of Alton will play to some of the Mini's strengths. Unlike many of the recent tracks that Lewis has spirited the BMW-built English classic around, VIR has some key handling and braking zones. These areas of the 3.27 mile facility will help reduce the impact of the car's only major flaw, a relative lack of horsepower in the ultra-competitive Sport Touring 1 (STI) class.
The car has had strong performances this season but has been hampered by the in-class horsepower deficit and electronic gremlins. The problems have cost Lewis class victories and podiums at a number of events in the street car-based race series sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association (Grand-Am). Lewis, who has won a Grand-Am Cup event in class every year he has participated in the series, will again share driving duties with car owner Tony Nuzzo and Mike Bavaro in Saturday's 3 Hours of VIR. The pairing has worked well together throughout the season. Lewis will also be entered in the No. 21 Nuzzo Motorsports' Mini to maximize the team's opportunity for success.
"VIR is a driver's track," said Lewis enthusiastically. "It really separates the men from the boys. Make no mistake; the long back-straightaway is going to hurt us horsepower-wise. I can make up a lot of things but that backstraight is going to be tough to overcome. I expect that we will be at least in the same ballpark as the competition. I think everyone raises their game at VIR. This place has history, atmosphere and this is the kind of track that a real driver just loves to race at. It is that good of a track. I wish I raced here more."
Shane Lewis is the 1998 Professional Sports Car Racing Rising Star award winner and is a multiple race winner in IMSA, SCCA Pro and Grand-Am sanctioned events. He has raced in six 24 Hours of Daytona, six 12 Hours of Sebring, three 24 Hours of Le Mans and four Petit Le Mans. Lewis, a regular top-five finisher in ALMS competition, has earned ALMS podium finishes at Silverstone, the Nurburgring and Portland and is one of the few drivers with experience in the four major classes of international sports car racing (LMP 900, LM P 675, LM GTS and LM GT). In 2003, Lewis is a fulltime driver for ACEMCO Motorsports in the ALMS and lead driver for the Nuzzo Motorsports Mini Cooper S in Grand-Am Cup.